The #Chiefs are expected to franchise tag Dee Ford, keeping a talented rusher in the building, as they work through acquisition scenarios for their new 4-3 defense. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/O3uRr69hTQ— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 19, 2019
This news is hardly unexpected. Many Chiefs fans have been arguing for such a move, and Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has made it pretty clear that Ford will be a significant part of the 2019 Chiefs defense. Based on what he has said recently, Ford has been expecting the Chiefs could make this move.
Should the franchise tag be placed on Ford, his 2019 salary would be somewhere around $18.7 million. The Chiefs are reported to have between $24 and $25 million in salary cap space in 2019, so it is likely that if Ford is given the franchise tag, the Chiefs will need to make some moves to free up cap space; it has previously been reported that signing deals with wide receiver Tyreek Hill and defensive lineman Chris Jones — along with Ford — will be a priority before the 2019 season.
Under NFL rules, the franchise tag must be placed on a player between February 19 and March 5. It is not unusual for teams to wait until late in that window to actually place the franchise tag on a player.
Chosen in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, Ford is a free agent. He has appeared in 67 of the 80 regular-season games since his arrival in Kansas City and started 41 of them. During his five seasons with the Chiefs, Ford has recorded 30.5 sacks, 69 quarterback hits, 136 tackles — including 36 tackles for loss — nine forced fumbles (including seven in 2018 alone) and six passes defensed.